Home » Fiction - Short Story/Novela » The Staring Stranger

“There he was again, the bum who always stared at me on the subway. I hated everything about him: his white hair tucked behind a purple bandanna, his ratty black tank top hiding none of his Rambo physique, his stonewashed denim cut offs that were much too short for anyone's comfort and his bare feet with their too long toenails tap dancing around on the dirty black floor. It made me itch.”

Aptly titled The Staring Stranger, this less than 1000 words flash fiction from Dan Absalonson centers on a man who has to endure the disturbing stares from a creepy homeless stranger on his routine subway rides. At first, I thought this was going to be a horror story, but I was wrong. Still, the creepy factor is there, and of course some people must have been through this kind of situation before. The question is, how many people would take the same action that the protagonist took in order to end his problem? And, is this story based on author Dan Absalonson’s own real experience?

I can actually count the number of contemporary flash fictions that I’ve read in my entire life with one hand. Thanks to Absalonson, I look forward to reading more enjoyable flash fiction such as this one. On the whole, The Staring Stranger is brief but delivers a complete story in its straightforward, fulfilling narrative and a clever ending. I highly recommend it to my fellow readers, especially the ones who don’t usually read this deceptively complex form of literary work.